ENV Professor recipient of 2011 Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award

14 February 2011

School of Environment Professor, Robin Kearns has been named as a recipient of the University of Auckland’s 2011 Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award.

This award is given for sustained excellence in teaching and facilitating learning, sustained commitment and development in teaching practice and sustained contribution to the teaching and learning environment with the University and the discipline, including evidence of leadership.

As a socio-cultural geographer, Professor Kearns’ academic path has taken him between Auckland and Canada. On his return to New Zealand in 1988 he completed two years postdoctoral work supported by the Medical Health Council before beginning a lectureship in 1990 in what was then the Department of Geography.

Professor Kearns is an enthusiastic teacher “with a particular passion for postgraduate supervision”. The goal of his teaching “is to challenge students to ‘unpack’ the nature of place and see relationships within and between places that might otherwise remain obscure”.

Professor Kearns’ research, which is largely collaborative, falls under “the unifying theme of a critical understanding of the links between culture, health and place”. Within this, his research topics are wide-ranging including rural (e.g. school closures), urban (e.g. suburban trans-nationalism), coastal (local resistance to capital-intensive residential development), and health-system (e.g. hospital) spaces.

Professor Kearns' research aims to “generate theoretical and methodological contributions in the international literature as well as inform local policy and planning”.

Professor Kearns coordinates GEOG 305: ‘Population, Health and Society’ and GEOG 714: ‘Population Mobility and Health’ as well as teaching sections within a number of other undergraduate and postgraduate human geography courses.

Staff can read further about Robin's passion for teaching in an interview with Robin contained on the University's staff pages at: